Wellesley College’s Davis Museum opens its spring season with a stunning series of exhibits relevant to Black History Month and Women’s History Month, and a gorgeous retrospective of the photography of Clarence H. White. Upstairs are surreal prints by Max Klinger and textiles by the African Siddis people of India. New selections from the museum’s collection include one of my favorites, Elizabeth Catlett’s life-size bronze “Glory”.
Nora Valdez contributes sculpture and little-seen drawings to “Close to Home” at the Duxbury Art Center Complex. Her poignant work explores the isolation of the immigrant experience–and her work is more apt now than ever. It’s refreshing to see Valdez’s work both inside and outside the museum–in the galleries and also in the permanent sculpture garden on the grounds.
There is a panel discussion this Sunday, November 19th, from 2-3:30pm at the Museum, featuring “Close to Home” curator Elizabeth Michelman.
A lifesize, floating shark by Kitty Wales, Requiem (1997), hangs outside the Duxbury Art Complex. Made of steel and tin, slowly achieving a rust patina in the shore weather, this Caribbean Reef shark seems recently to have become a symbol–perhaps unintended–of the plight of marine mammals around the globe. Wales works from direct observation of nature, admiring the “grace and fluidity” of sharks, whose numbers have declined rapidly since the piece was made. The title is more relevant than ever.
Malvina Hoffman‘s 1962 bust of Henry David Thoreau is tiny but mighty. On view at the Concord Museum, the terra cotta bust was the result of studies and sketches preserved in the Getty Museum’s Hoffman archive.
Now through September 4th, “The Anatomy of a Desk: Writing with Thoreau and Emerson” also at the Concord Museum.
Cody, Wyoming hosts major life sizes bronze sculptures by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Glenna Goodacre.
Whitney was already famous in New York when she undertook “Buffalo Bill–The Scout” and considered it to be her masterpiece. Cast at Roman Bronze Works in Queens, NY, the over-lifesize sculpture was completed in 1924 and shipped to Cody where it was installed on a large stone base, meant to represent nearby Cedar Mountain. Whitney’s son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, donated funds in his mother’s memory to establish the nearby Whitney Gallery of Western Art.
Glenna Goodacre, best known for designing the relief portrait on the Sacagawea dollar coin, sculpted a life-size portrait “Sacagawea and Jean Baptiste” which stands outside the Whitney Gallery. Randy L’Teton, a Shoshone-Bannock college student, posed for Goodacre’s medallic Sacagawea in 2001.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s Buffalo Bill commission
photography by Eli Wirth-Apley
I’m excited to share my newest article about Sally Farnham’s life and times. Colorful Sally is a talk I gave during my Remington Museum residency. Originally written as a YA presentation, I’ve updated and upgraded the information–all errors and typos are mine!
Born Netta Deweze Frazee Scudder, she adopted the much simpler name Janet when she went to art school in Cincinnati in the 1880s. When she arrived in Chicago in 1891, she became an assistant to sculptor Lorado Taft (along with Bessie Potter Vonnoh) and helped him with his commissions for the World’s Columbian Exposition. She received her own commissions for the fair as well. She settled in New York City and established a reputation for medallions and later for urban and garden fountains, especially Frog Fountain (1901, pictured, collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Alida Cervantes, Mexican painter and mixed-media artist, creates work with a three-dimensional presence. Themes of power, wealth, and social caste based on race, confront the viewer in her current Mills Gallery show. “La enemiga natural” (above, oil on found palette), suggests that the traditional, over-wrought trappings of feminine wealth and power—elaborate clothes, clownlike makeup—are merely broken and disturbing signifiers. Through September.
Beverly Semmes‘s oversize dresses—fit for a giantess—have become feminist art memes. Her current show at Samson Projects in SOWA, Boston, is a return to these iconic garments, and they seem like old friends—crazy friends, maybe—but still a welcome and hilarious sight. Taken all together, the clothes are souvenirs of wild lives: a diaphanous blue negligee draped over an enormous hanger, decorated with red tags (is the giantess keeping score?); a fringed evening shawl in crushed velvet; a huge gown in canine-print fabric (pictured) with crazily puddling sleeves; blouses embroidered with cellular patterns. The last day is May 27.